The winter months are near. Warm flavoured beverages, roasted chestnuts by the fireplace, Christmas carols, skiing, and snow days are some of the best things about the winter season. Sadly, the elegance of a winter wonderland snowfall can quickly turn to brown slush and dangerously icy roads and sidewalks.
In 2004 Statistics Canada reported that slip and fall incidents accounted for 41% of preventable injuries in Canada, resulting in over 3 billion dollars in costs each year. In Toronto, slip and fall claims against the city, snow maintenance contractors and private property owners have been steadily increasing for the last decade.
Regardless of how careful you are, anyone can become a victim to a slip and fall incident. Section 44(9) of the Municipal Act 2001 states that the city can be held liable for slip and fall incidents on public property, if they are found to be grossly negligent. In Crinson v City of Toronto 2010 it was held that a breach of duty by the city must amount to gross negligence. In this case, Justice Goudge and Laforme stated that the courts would consider it gross negligence where "a municipality that allows a slippery, icy sidewalk in a busy area of a city to remain unprotected or ignores it altogether and someone is injured".
Claims against a city in Ontario require a written notice within 10 days of the incident. Note that there can be some exceptions to the 10-day rule and it doesn't apply to private property owners. Claimants
then have a 2-year statutory period to bring a claim against the city, maintenance contractors or private property owners for loss of income, medical and rehabilitation expenses and pain and suffering.
Private property owners have a responsibility to ensure that sidewalks in front of their property that abut a city street are clear from ice and snow that has fallen within the last 12 hours. For those who fail to properly salt and shovel the sidewalk, Chapter 719 of the Toronto Municipal Code can impose a fine of $100.00 plus a $25.00 surcharge.
For those living in the Toronto area who are elderly or have physical or mental limitations, free snow removal from the city sidewalks can be requested by calling 311 or downloading an application form.
Some tips to keep in mind if you fall victim to a slip and fall. Immediately seek medical attention and report the incident to the property owner. If possible take pictures of the area and the footwear worn and place footwear in a safe place. Get contact information from any witnesses and contact a personal injury lawyer before signing any documents.
To make a great end to the year of 2014 and the beginning of 2015, Torontonians let's be good neighbours by maintaining our city streets and sidewalks. Contact our Toronto slip and fall accident attorneys for more information!
Have a safe and Happy Holiday!
To read more on this topic visit www.toronto.ca.